16 Albanians charged with murder over earthquake deaths

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TIRANA, Albania — Albanian prosecutors indicted 16 investors, construction experts and local officials Friday on murder and other charges resulting from fatal building collapses after an earthquake a year ago.

Prosecutors in the city of Durres, one of the areas most-devastated by the 6.4-magnitude earthquake, charged the investors, engineers and officials of the local authorities with murder by negligence and corruption.

The investors and engineers were accused of violating the use of the proper construction studies and certification, using substandard building materials and violating building codes.

The local officials were charged with corruption for allegedly issuing fake documentation to the investors or engineers.

The Nov. 26, 2019 earthquake killed 51 people, 23 of them in Durres. It also injured hundreds and left 17,000 homeless.

Criminal investigations are ongoing in three other cities affected from the quake.

Albania is rebuilding tens of thousands of private homes, schools and public buildings around the country, largely with more than a billion euros pledged by international donors.

The Associated Press